A Time to Divide, and a Time to Unite…..

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.”
– Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

I might add, “During this worldwide pandemic, a time to fear and a time to hope.” With regards to obeying our government leaders, our medical experts and using our god-given rationality, a time to divide and a time to unite. Dividing is easy, it’s the default position for most people and for everyone who doesn’t think much, because it is seeking perfection in others while excusing or ignoring your own imperfections. Imperfect is real life, perfect is not. That’s why I use the term, Perfectionist Progressives rather than simply progressives. Progress is desirable, perfection is…..ammunition. For what? Bringing others down.

Examples of Dividing headlines, from Newsweek: OVER 120,000 SIGN PETITION CALLING FOR END TO LIVE COVERAGE OF TRUMP’S CORONAVIRUS BRIEFINGS; STATES WITH REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS DELAYED ACTION ON SOCIAL DISTANCING MEASURES, STUDY FINDS. Of what use are such headlines? Do they sow a spirit of cooperation or a spirit of fear and suspicion? Our country, indeed the whole world, is under attack by an invisible enemy with no human sensibilities. Those with a platform of mass communication should be doing what? Informing, encouraging and uniting…. or blaming, discouraging and dividing? Is this a time to criticize imperfection, or a time to exercise self control and seek the best available advice?

Example of a Uniting headline, also in Newsweek: WHAT WORKING THE EBOLA FRONTLINE IN DRC (CONGO) TAUGHT US ABOUT FIGHTING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC, by Dr. Mesfin Teklu Tessema, the Head of the Health Unit at the International Rescue Committee. 1. Build trust: “During the peak of the Ebola outbreak, communities and people were largely kept in the dark with minimal access to information about the disease, prevention, or treatment. Coupled with existing mistrust of the government and institutions—including the United Nations – misinformation was rampant and allowed the disease to spread further. Unfortunately, we have already seen similar failures in COVID-19 responses, with governments sharing mixed messages which undermine public trust. An effective response requires credible sources including public health experts to serve as spokespeople providing evidence-based messages and clear guidance.” 2. Integrate mental health care and other health needs into the response. “In the DRC, Ebola survivors and their families faced social isolation and even violence. With more than 300 million children already out of school, millions of adults working from home or facing economic hardship, mental health has to be factor into our response. From Syria and Yemen to the DRC, I have witnessed the toll emergencies can have on mental health where fear, anxiety, and stigma become part of daily life.” 3. Recognize that impacts will be felt differently by women: Crises do not impact men and women the same way. Women often take on caretaking roles and make up the majority of the global healthcare workforce leaving them disproportionately exposed. We’ve seen that disease outbreaks also lead to increased violence for women and children. A rapid assessment from CARE in China showed that violence increased during COVID-19. Specialized protection programming should be included alongside an outbreak response. 4. Strengthen multilateral coordination: “We need governments, multilateral organizations to share information, expertise and collectively respond to this pandemic. The meeting of the G-20 this week on COVID-19 is a good first step. As money gets prioritized, fast and flexible funding is needed to not only deploy responsive solutions to COVID-19, but to also ensure that existing life-saving programs do not grind to halt, triggering further humanitarian disaster. Failed cooperation in the DRC meant more lives lost to Ebola, and the risks are the same here.” 5. Invest in preparedness: “The Ebola outbreak took over a year to contain in large part due to a weak health system. In the current crisis, high income countries and philanthropies must act quickly to help prevent the spread in low-income countries where health systems are far weaker and vulnerable populations like refugees will be hit the hardest. Testing should be quickly expanded and accessible to everybody who needs one no matter where they live.”

Political dividing has already accelerated the spread of the virus: On January 22, one day before the Chinese government began a quarantine of Wuhan to contain the spread of the virus, senator Tom Cotton sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar encouraging the Trump administration to consider banning travel between China and the United States and warning that the Communist regime could be covering up how dangerous the disease really was. That same day, he amplified his warnings on Twitter. At the time, the Senate impeachment trial was dominating the news cycle. The trial, which lasted from January 16 to February 5, had even blotted out coverage of the Democratic presidential primary in the days leading up to the Iowa caucuses. When the first classified briefing on the virus was held in the Senate on January 24, only 14 senators reportedly showed up.

Blaming seems more prevalent than useful information. Why? The news media want to blame the President for the problems in New York and a lack of preparedness because the media cannot blame or question China. They cannot blame or question China because every major news organization in America now, except Fox News, is tied to a film studio that is, in turn, beholden to China for access to Chinese box office revenue. We cannot get honesty from a press that depends on Chinese communist overlords for their paychecks, which is exactly what is happening in the United States right now. In addition, we shipped much of our manufacturing to China! Not to worry, surely China wouldn’t disrupt the sacred “global supply chain.” Oops. China is stockpiling masks and ventilators. China makes more than 90% of our antibiotics, vitamin C, ibuprofen and hydrocortisone, 70% of acetaminophen, and 40% to 45% of heparin, according to The New York Times. The last American penicillin plant closed more than 15 years ago. I might add to this list, even sterile saline. In early March, the Chinese government ominously warned that if China stopped exporting drugs, “the United States would sink into the hell of a novel coronavirus epidemic.” For decades, people like Trump’s trade director Peter Navarro have warned us that something like this would happen someday. Navarro had the executive order–requiring the federal government to buy American-made pharmaceuticals–ready to go, but then dozens of pharmaceutical companies lobbied against it, arguing that “a diverse pharmaceutical supply chain is precisely what enables the industry to respond quickly and make adjustments in its supply chain sourcing during natural emergencies and global public health crises.” The Big Pharma lobbyists also noted that Trump’s (idle) threat for America to make its own drugs “could run afoul of commitments it made under the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement.”

This is the bill for the wonders of globalism: we are prisoners in our own homes, our dominant media (and unfortunately, whenever the mood strikes him, our president as well) would rather divide us than encourage uniting, China blames us, threatens us, then re-opens the wet markets that released this scourge upon the entire world. I would gladly pay more for my goods if we could somehow roll back the clock on these mistakes.